The solution to solving homelessness lies in the number of vacant homes in the United States and in raising the minimum wage to $30 an hour, Rebecca Parson, a Democratic socialist running to represent the U.S. House from the state of Washington, said in a Newsmax interview Friday.
But Parson told Newsmax's "National Report," it's wrong to think that there is a large segment of the homeless who have a history of violence, mental illness, or drug addiction.
Many people don't even know those who are homeless "because they're going to work every day," Parson said. "You see them on the street. They look like somebody who's just going to work."
In addition, of the 600,000 people who are homeless in the United States, at least 40,000 are veterans and 120,000 are children.
Parson said there are more than 13 million empty homes in the United States, not only in rural areas and small towns, but in "expensive blue areas like mine."
"There are more empty homes in New York City than there are homeless people, and so many of these homes are owned by corporations," she said. "You've got companies like BlackRock Investment buying up entire neighborhoods. You have these empty corporate-owned homes. Why don't we use them for what they're intended for, which is housing people? Like veterans and kids who are homeless?"
With minimum wage, Parson said $30 an hour may seem high, considering the current minimum wage is $7.25, but based on the MIT Living Wage Calculator, $30 per hour is the floor nationwide for one adult supporting one child.
"Currently the way the economy is structured is that corporations get billions and trillions of dollars of subsidies," she said. "The COVID pandemic was essentially a transfer of wealth over to corporations, while American small businesses went under. What if we stopped giving away billions and trillions of dollars in subsidies to multinational corporations, and instead gave them to American small business owners to pay their employees?"
Parson said she's a small business owner and pays people $30 per hour, which "helps businesses grow their business and find more customers."
"I do believe that $30 per hour is the answer, and you can look at the data as well. It's not something that I'm just pulling out of a hat," she said.
Parson also backs a national jobs program, such as was going on in the Great Depression, "which was popular in my district in the cities and also in the rural parts of my district that voted for [Donald] Trump. People still remember those job programs. Why not have a jobs program where you can stay where you live?"
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